Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra camera tips & tricks: How to make the most out of it

Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra camera tips & tricks: How to make the most out of it
While the world is still in the clutches of the coronavirus (stay safe, everyone!), avid Galaxy fans are about to receive their Galaxy S20-series pre-orders. All the new Galaxy flagships that Samsung announced last month are officially hitting the shelves on March 6, but some lucky few have already received, unboxed, and are currently enjoying their flashy new Android phones.

There's a ton to be excited about, namely the super-speedy chipset, super-smooth 120Hz display, and the huge batteries, but the most intriguing new feature is undoubtedly the supercharged camera package, which albeit slightly misleading, is still quite impressive. 

Here are a bunch of useful camera tips and tricks that will help you make the best out of your new phone's camera app!

Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra camera tips & tricks


1. How to make use of Single Take


Single Take is available on all three S20 phones and allows you to just hold the camera shutter while the phone will shoot photos and videos with all of the cameras, and then magically pull out the best shots and moments in one album. It works best when you do something fun, jump or scream, be creative, and capture it. You will automatically get a short movie, a few GIF like funny animations, a bunch of stylized photos and a lot more in just one take. Single Take will use AI to do its magic and highlight the best videos and still images, as well as create some custom videos and tuned images that you might enjoy.  

To take a Single Take photo, simply swipe to the right to enter the new camera mode and promptly start capturing a video. You will be urged to take the video from different angles so as to capture as much meaningful moments as possible. Once you're done, you will be presented with a bunch of videos and pictures hand-picked by AI. Have in mind that pictures taken with Single Take are with inferior quality in comparison with regular photos taken with the device.  

Here's how we did it the first time we were handed an S20 Ultra:



2. Augmented reality on the Galaxy S20-series


Any and all AR-related camera features have been migrated to a new section within the camera interface. To access these, swipe right until you get to the "More" section on within the camera app, and lo and behold, the AR Zone menu will be visible at the top row. From there, you can access various AR-related features. AR Emoji Camera, AR Doodle, and AR Emoji Stickers are certainly well-known to long-time Galaxy owners, but 3D Scanner and Quick Measure are arguably a bit more useful and exciting. The former lets you capture a three-dimensional scan of a real-life object by rotating your phone around it to capture a quick scan, whereas Quick Measure lets you... measure distances using the ToF camera at the back. Fairly reliable, but don't count on it when purchasing a new sofa.  


3. Take Live Focus video


That's not a tip in the traditional sense of the term, but more of a public service announcement - Live Focus videos on the new Galaxies are now actually usable. Unlike previous iterations of the feature, which were mostly hit or miss, the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra now consistently isolate the subject from the background and apply the bokeh effect evenly. Here's a sample that we took a while ago:



Aside from regular bokeh, Samsung also lets you take videos with a quirky RGB split effect, but we wish the selection was greater. 



4. Enable Zoom-in mic


Zoom-in mic is a great feature that amplifies volume and reduces background noises as you zoom in on while shooting video. It's great and it's definitely better to leave this one enabled rather than disabled, but do have in mind that this feature cannot be used with Live focus video, Super steady, or with the front camera. To enable this feature, open the camera in video mode, hit the settings cog at the top bar, then head to Advanced recording options. From there, simply toggle the zoom-in mic feature at the bottom. 


Now, whenever you zoom in while recording a video, you'll notice a mic gain icon appear near the camera shutter, indicating that the feature is trying its best to isolate sound coming in from that direction.



5. How to take Super steady video


The default video stabilization of the Galaxy S20-series is already excellent, but to achieve an ever more stunning result, make sure to enable Super steady video. It's great, but as we already mentioned in our review, Super Steady uses a crop of the ultra-wide camera to achieve that, and with that decision comes a slightly degraded camera compared to regular video.

To enable Super steady, simply tap the "electrocuted hand" icon at the top of the camera interface. 


6. How to take a 108MP photo with the Galaxy S20 Ultra


The big deal about the Galaxy S20 Ultra is its main 108MP camera sensor. However, you don't take 108MP pictures by default - you have to manually enable this camera mode. To do that and take a 108MP photo, simply tap on the aspect ratio icon at the top bar of the camera interface and choose the respective capture mode. Have in mind that 108MP take up significantly more space than regular images and you can't zoom in or out while in 108MP shooting mode.


7. How to take a 40MP selfie on the Galaxy S20 Ultra


Aside from a brawny 108MP main sensor, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra also has an impressive 40MP selfie camera, which is capable of producing images with exceptional detail. It's true that selfies are often better when they show as little detail and imperfections as possible, but technology is moving forwards and it's not really worth it to be left behind, so better get along with the times. To take a 40MP selfie, hit the aspect ratio button on the top bar of the camera interface, then select the respective capture mode. 



8. Selfie tone


Selfie tone is a neat new hidden feature that lets you tint the overall tone of your selfies with a cool, warm, or a neutral tint. Which one you like the most ultimately falls down to you though the overall change is quite subtle. What's more, the same effect can be achieved with any third-party image-editing app as well. Still, it's nice of Samsung to include this feature. 

To change Selfie Tone, open your selfie camera, then scroll down to Useful features, where you'll find the Selfie tone menu. 

 

9. Create GIFs with a swipe


First of all, it's pronounced with a hard "G" (just like gift, but without the "T"), and secondly, all new S20 models allow you to quickly create a GIF by simply flicking down the shutter button. The resulting GIF is pretty low-quality one, but hey, more power to you!

To enable this feature, open your camera app settings, then look for "Swipe Shutter button to edge to" under the Pictures submenu. By default, it should be set to "'Take burst shot", but tapping it would led you change it to "Create GIF"



10. How to save space when recording videos


As we already revealed in our storage space comparison between 8K, 4K, and Full HD 1080p footage taken on the S20 Ultra can quickly eat up your precious native storage. That's why it's advisable to give high efficiency video shot in the new H.265 format a spin, as it offers superior compression and saves space without any loss in quality. 

To enable HEVC video, go to camera settings and then hit Advanced Recording options under Pictures. Flip the HEVC toggle and you're good to go, but have in mind that you might run into compatibility issues 



11. Rearrange camera modes


Feeling like changing up the camera interface layout? Samsung's got your back! Simply swipe all the way left until you reach the More submenu where all non-essential camera modes are situated and hit the pencil icon. After that, you can simply drag and rearrange the different modes that appear as large icons down where they'd be more easily accessible. 

Related phones

Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • Display 6.9 inches
    3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 108 MP (Quad camera)
    40 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh
  • OS Android 10
    Samsung One UI
Galaxy S20
  • Display 6.2 inches
    3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera)
    10 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • OS Android 10
    Samsung One UI
Galaxy S20+
  • Display 6.7 inches
    3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Quad camera)
    10 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 4500 mAh
  • OS Android 10
    Samsung One UI

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